Long ball returns to Yankees’ arsenal

The power is back for the Yankees, is it ever. I don’t think we will hear people complaining about the Yankees relying too much on the long ball the way they did last year. As tepid as the Yanks’ offensive attack has been this year, watching balls go over fence is a welcome sight.

Alfonso Soriano led the way Tuesday night with two home runs and four RBI in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays. Sori fell into a slump as he approached his 2,000th career hit, but the same thing did not happen as he approached his 400th home run. He reached it one pitch after he cranked out No. 399 two innings earlier. Soriano also made a dazzling defensive play in left field in the ninth inning with a terrific, running and leaping catch to help stall a late Toronto rally.

Alex Rodriguez hit career home run No. 651, and Mark Reynolds went hard as well. Reynolds also played one inning at second base as both Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez came out of the game with injuries. Reynolds, normally a corner infielder, played second base twice in 2007 with the Diamondbacks. His ninth-inning, fill-in role included being part of a double play that ended the game. It was one of four twin killings for the Yankees in the game.

Cano left the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch from Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ in the left hand. X-rays were negative. Nunez, who took over at second base and was a part of two double plays, twisted his right knee in the eighth. He remained in the game and got a single in the ninth. Manager Joe Girardi decided to play it safe and had Lyle Overbay pinch run for Nunez. Overbay stayed in the game at first base with Reynolds moving over to second.

Andy Pettitte pitched another beauty with seven shutout innings in which he allowed five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Pettitte pushed his season record over .500 at 10-9 and in so doing reached double figures in victories for the 14th time pitching for the Yankees, which set a franchise record as he broke the tie he had shared with Whitey Ford.

It was a continuation of good fortune for Pettitte, who hit a bit of a wall at mid-season but has rebounded nicely. In his past six starts, Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in 33 2/3 innings and has allowed two runs or less in five of those starts.

Derek Jeter, in his second game back from the disabled list, got into the mix with two hits and an RBI.

This was a satisfying victory all around for the Yankees, who were hoping to gain some ground in the postseason chase and moved within one game of third place in the American League East.

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